Disney veterans pretty much know all of the ins and outs of the parks, including the special words, phrases, and terminology associated with the happiest place on earth. Well, if you consider yourself a Disney rookie and would like to become educated on the lingo before heading to the parks, here are some of the Walt Disney World terms every park visitor needs to know.
1. Rope Drop
To be clear, rope drop doesn’t mean arriving at the park when it’s scheduled to open. As avid Disney goers are well aware, if you want to get to the most popular attractions first to avoid long lines or to enjoy a somewhat empty park, you arrive at least an hour before opening. The parks usually even allow guests to enter the actual park early. That said, you can only get so far inside the park. For example, at the Magic Kingdom, you can walk down Main Street, U.S.A. and stand in front of Cinderella’s Castle, but the paths to the lands will be roped off, hence “rope drop”. So, when the park does officially open, the ropes are dropped and you can go on your way!
2. Extra Magic Hours
Extra Magic Hours (EMH) are some of the best hours. These will occur either in the early mornings before park opening or in the late evenings after park closing. EMH are only available to guests who have booked a stay at Walt Disney World hotels.
3. The Kiss Goodnight
Many Disney fans have never experienced The Kiss Goodnight (*raises hands*) or have never even heard of it. First of all, did you know the Magic Kingdom stays open an hour after the scheduled closing time? To be clear, you can’t ride attractions and the lands are shut down, but you can hang out and shop on Main Street. The Kiss Goodnight usually plays every 30 minutes after the park closes. It involves Cinderella’s Castle lighting up with blue and purple hues, while “When You Wish Upon a Star” plays. Both a narrator and Mickey Mouse even give heartfelt send-offs. You can either watch it here, or wait to experience it yourself when you’re at the park.
4. The Purple Wall — And Every Other Wall
If you ever hear someone talking about the “Purple Wall” they are referring to a literal wall located in Tomorrow Land at Magic Kingdom. It is purple and makes for a great picture spot, in addition to all of the other Walls of Disney. For example, there is the Bubblegum Wall at Epcot and the You Are Most Beautiful Wall at Animal Kingdom.
5. Hidden Mickeys
Disney fans love spotting Hidden Mickeys, aka hidden Mickey Mouse patterns across parks and resorts. You can spot a Hidden Mickey pretty much anywhere.
PhotoPass is a service offered to guests. Photographers are located throughout the parks who will take photos of you at special locations, like in front of the Tree of Life. The photos are also available for purchase.
7. Memory Maker
Memory Maker is a pre-paid photo package that you can purchase. The package includes most every photo taken during your trip by a PhotoPass photographer. The package also gives you an unlimited digital download of all your photos and discounts on photo prints.
8. The Mountains
If someone ever asks you at Disney World, “What’s your favorite mountain?”, they don’t mean an actual mountain, like the Rocky Mountains. They just want to know if you prefer Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, or Big Thunder Mountain.
9. Disney’s Magical Express
The Magical Express is Disney World’s free transportation bus service that shuttles guests from their airport to their hotel and vice versa.
10. Cast Member
Rather than being known as an employee, anyone who works at Disney is called a Cast Member.
Imagineers are the designers and creators of everything in the parks.
12. Dark Ride
A dark ride is a classic Disney-style ride, where a vehicle transports guests through different scenes in darkened rooms, i.e. Pirates of the Caribbean.
Backstage refers to behind-the-scenes (anything you can’t see) at the parks and resorts.
MagicBands are wrist bands that are the most handy invention ever. They serve as your room key, your park ticket, and even give you access to your FastPass+ reservations. Also, once you link your credit card to the band, you can use it to pay for pretty much anything at parks and hotels.
FastPass+ is a system available online through the Disney World website or via the My Disney Experience app that allows you to book reservations for attractions and entertainment.
16. Quick Service/Counter Service/Table Service
These are the different levels of dining service available. Quick and counter service are more casual establishments, like snack stands and restaurants where you can walk up to the counter. Table service is where guests sit down and are waited on by a Cast Member. FYI, if you ever hear someone say “ADR” that stands for Advance Dining Reservation. Tip: you can make dining reservations 180 days prior to your Disney vacation.
17. Disney Dining Plan
The Disney Dining Plan offers a variety of meal plans offering a select number of table service, counter service, and snacks per day. You essentially purchase your food (think pre-paid meals) before arriving at Disney World and all of your meals and snacks will be set for the day.
18. Park Hopping
Park hopping is the only way to do Disney. All it means is hopping from one park to the next all in the same day. You can even visit all four parks in one day!
19. Disney Resort TV Channel
There is nothing better than turning on your hotel room TV once you officially arrive at your Disney World resort. As soon as the TV turns on, the best channel ever appears — the Disney Resort TV channel. Not only does it provide park information, but it plays the best Disney music you could ask for.
There are all kinds of Disney terms, but for those who aren’t that familiar with Disney World, these ones will not only expand your Disney vocabulary, but even help you during your next visit.